The Present Absent

c-print, 12x 70x50cm


In their work Broersen& Lukacs recreate models for places that are deeply rooted in the collective imagination.
The 'Absent Present' is a re-construction of a painting (Bierstadt’s ‘Storm in the Rocky Mountains’, Mt Rosalie, 1866). Bierstadt’s enormous commercial success relied on the fact that he painted the American West, but it is far from being a copy of the real, as Bierstadt based his paintings on the idea of the sublime- romantic European mountain landscapes. Bierstadt's 'Storm in the Rocky Mountains' represented a place of salvation, where 'the benevolent handiwork of God could still be appreciated in its unspoiled majesty'. This functioned as a welcome counterpoise for the first media event: namely the stream of war photos of the Battle of Gettysburg ('The Harvest of Death", by Timothy H. O'Sullivan), which were published at the same moment.
Broersen & Lukács went to the Rocky Mountains and rediscovered the landscape that Bierstadt used for his painting. They have ‘emptyied’ the painting of its connotative sources and ‘reload’ it with images of the reinterpreted present.



The Present Absent ( after Bierstadt's 'Storm in the Rocky Mountain, Mount Rosalie ', 1866) c-print, 70 x 50 cm x 12panels


Bierstadt's 'Storm in the Rocky Mountain, Mount Rosalie ', 1866